Practically Speaking: Extraordinary Truth for Ordinary Days, Part Two
For now, I’m excited to present you with a real post. A continuation of our series we started last week. If you missed Part One, you can read it here.
“Don’t worry. God sees you through the blood. Not as you are, but as who He created you to be.”
I know, I know. Those are supposed to be ordinary words of comfort. Something nice Christians say to assure us that God looks past our failures and sees our future. Looks beyond our past and sees His promise.
Why, then couldn’t I hear it that way? Why, then, did I squirm every time those words were spoken to me?
Maybe I’m a product of poor teaching. Or maybe I just messed up this little nugget of truth all on my own. But for years this is how my mind translated those types of “comforting” phrases:
“God doesn’t see you for who you are because you, Sandy, are a train wreck. God can’t stand ungodliness and imperfection; therefore, He cannot stand you. Loves you, but doesn’t like you. See, the only way He can tolerate the sight of you is to cover you with perfection—his blood. That’s right. Blood-stained glasses. He’s gotta wear ‘em when He looks at you, sister. God doesn’t like the “you” you are today, at all. Never has, never will. He does, however, like the “you” He intended for you to be—so maybe someday He will like you. But not so much today.”
What fun it must be to live with my brain!
I suppose most of my life I’ve battled with the insecurity that I didn’t quite measure up (ya think?). Not quite pretty enough. Not quite smart enough. Not quite talented enough. Seems fate found a way to place me under the care and direction of many perfectionists in my formative years. Loving, caring, well-meaning perfectionists. But perfectionists, nonetheless.
(Perfectionism breeds insecurity, by the way. And more perfectionism.)
And then I had just enough people in my life to reinforce my insecurities and cement them securely into my soul.
Oh, and then there are all those weaknesses I have, all those mistakes I make and all those people I hurt along the way. I’m so painfully aware of my short-comings, I can hardly stand the sight of myself. I guess it all makes perfect sense.
Now enter into the mix the Biblical truth that I’m not holy enough, not good enough and certainly not spiritually mature enough to deserve God’s love.
Geeze Louise–I’m hopeless!
Now, just so you know, I’ve always believed that God loves me. I’d be the first to tell you that God loves me and He loves you, too. Jesus love me this I know…for the Bible tells me so and all that jazz. No problemo.
And I’ve always realized that I couldn’t earn His love. So very thankful for that. Being such a train wreck and all, I need all the breaks I can get.
But for me, there was a disconnect. How could a God who literally had to cover me with His perfection before He could “see” me…before He could “look at” me, say He loved me unconditionally? How could a God who only sees me as some future version of myself say he loved me unconditionally?
How can unconditional love be so…well…conditional?
“Don’t worry. God sees you through the blood. Not as you are, but as who He created you to be.”
God, what is the “truth” about your impression of me, anyway? Is this just a bad song lyric that someone confused with Biblical wisdom? Is this some trite saying that sounds good but isn’t consistent with Your Holy Word at all? Sort of like, “God helps those who help themselves”?
(You realize that’s not a scripture, right? OK, good.)
Sitting under a boat-load of condemnation and confusion, I finally reached the point where this issue became the focus of my prayers. I needed to understand God’s love for me if I was ever going to achieve greater intimacy with Him. If I was ever going to move forward in Him. After all, how can I pursue a God who can’t even stand the sight of me?
So on an ordinary day in my bedroom, during my ordinary prayer time, I cried. Well, I sobbed, really.
“God, “ I prayed (sobbed), “I’m thankful you don’t remember my sins. And I’m thankful I don’t have to earn your love or conjure up my own righteousness. But I need to know that you see me. Really see me. Just as I am. Today. Still a sinner. Still weak. Still failing in so many ways. I need to know that when you look at me, you love me as I am—today. Unconditionally. Please help me understand your love for me.”
This is what is so awesome about God. He knows just how to speak directly into our hearts and cut straight to the core of the issue. Truth that take a micro-second for God to deposit, but hours for us to articulate.
Immediately, I thought of my then six-year-old daughter, Rebekah. And I felt God say, “Do you love Rebekah?”
I responded, “Oh, yes, Lord. I love Rebekah more than I can comprehend. There isn’t anything I would not do for her. I would kill for her. I would die for her.”
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
“Do you see her imperfections? Do you see her faults and her failures?”
“Of course. She makes mistakes every day.”
“Do you love her even when she makes mistakes?”
“I love her more and more every day, regardless of her mistakes. Her faults and failures have no bearing on my love for her whatsoever.”
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (I John 3:1a)
“Do you see all the wonderful things that she can become next year? In 10 years? In 20 years?”
“Yes…she is so full of talent and potential. Every day she discovers something new, and every day I discover something new about her. I can’t wait to see everything she will be and do as she grows up. It excites me to think of all the possibilities. I see her successful in her schooling, in her career. Maybe a wife. Maybe a mother….”
“Do you see her as ‘imperfect’ because she has not yet reached maturity? Because she is not yet all that you see she can be? Because she doesn’t know how to do multiplication? Or drive a car? Or balance a check book? Because she doesn’t have a job or a husband or a child? ”
“Not at all, Lord. In fact, I don’t want her to do all those things today. Today I want her to be six years old. I know the day will come when she will know and be all those things, and more…but today, I want her to be six. Today, I love that she’s six. She’s perfect at being six.”
“Sandy, today , too, I love where you are and who you are. Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you. I knew you then and I know you now. I know your heart. I know your fears. I see you every moment of every day. I’ve seen every single sin you’ve ever committed. And all that has no bearing on my love for you whatsoever. And though I see all your potential and I see the divine purpose for which I created you, I neither want you nor expect you to be those things today. I see you today, and I love you today. Just as you are. “
Lesson learned: Jesus sees me, train wreck and all…and Jesus likes me.
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
Why do I feel like all I ever comment is, “Wow”?
Well, probably ’cause you’re always reading my mail. 🙂
This seems like such an easy concept to grasp, but I believe it truly is the hardest. I think especially for women. We are always striving to be perfect.
Thank you so much for your post. Like Jesus, I’m also a Sandy fan.
It took me a long time to believe this too. I kept thinking I had to get my act together before I could be worthy to be in His presence.
It was truly a defining moment for me when I realized I didn’t have to make any promises or wipe away all my sins before I could experience His love. I just needed to strive to be perfected in Him, not perfect for him.
Awesome post, yet again!! Glad you are back!
Sandy, This was absolutely beautiful…. God speaks to me like that too… in those sweet ways with examples that are tangible to me. I love that He does that…
I loved every word of this post.
I found you from the Internet Cafe. This is my first visit her. Congratulations on the award. I am one of the devotional writers there and am so blessed to see you receive this award.
Keep writing your heart. It’s absolutely beautiful.
It’s nice to meet you. I hope you will stop by my blog for a visit. I love meeting new people.
That’s so sweet, Sandy!! Beautiful post.
That is wonderful Sandy! I love the way God used your love for your daughter to explain His love for you (for us).
I loved reading this, just not sure what to do with it… sit on it a while, let it soak in. I’m definitely a “believer” in all the right stuff, just tend to be in that place where I know more about the disconnect than a true understanding of the relationship part.
Even still, waiting and trusting…
Thanks for this series! It speaks to me right where I’m at.
What a totally wonderful post 🙂
I didn’t realize it until now, but I suppose that I have been thinking that God loves me….but doesn’t like me, too.
I love how your blog makes me stop and think about the real stuff.
Have a good week!
– Kate 🙂
I just wanted to stop in and say congratulations for being one of the Internet Cafe’s Top 100 Christian Women’s Blogs of 2008! Your blog truly *does* bless!
Thank you for listening to God. Thank you for encouraging others to hear his voice too. God bless you!
This message was powerful and well said — GOD is glorified! I was blessed as was so many others.
I’m glad you’re back online from the bad weather!
So beautifully put! I love that God called Himself our Heavenly Father. The parental image is just so perfect and gives us such a wonderful standard by which to try and parent and to understand His affection for us.
beautiful!!!! amazingly enough – I have been going through the same (almost same) lesson. I totally got that God loved me. I totally God that I couldn't earn His love…. but I used to do things (read Bible, spend time with Him) just so I could say to Him – God aren't you proud? Look at what I'm doing…. but one day He really made it so clear that my heart wasn't right. Out of my own issues & insecurities — I was still being with Him, doing for Him — FOR ME!
Then I went through this "but do I have your approval God" — am I just a disappointment? Am I not good enough? phase
So then I realized that for so long that I was seeking approval I already had. It was over, I was reconciled to Him and I had His love. It's okay – He didn't hang expectations over my head and be disappointed when I didn't reach them! I felt so FREE after that revelation
but THEN He told me — but don't ever give up your desire to please me either randi Jo.
and since then He has been pouring into me sooo much about what is pleasing to Him… I have just been pouring over scripture learning what is pleasing to Him!! and over and over again He is telling me — you loving me is pleasing. You having faith in my goodness is pleasing. You allowing ME to do the work is pleasing. He says – *I* do the work — you do the loving & allowing!
For the longest time I spent time with Him — because I was afraid to disappoint Him. I wanted Him to be proud of me —- and when He finally took that all away…it was SOOO awesome to have LESS of me so that there could be so much MORE of HIM!!
Now He is teaching me how to truly desire to be with Him just out of love for Him. How to truly be HIM focused not me focused.
I AM SO sorry I just rambled so much. I am just overflowing these days
ANYWAY — my point is!! I SOOO hear you on this post!!!!!!!!!!!
He is pleased with our faith in His goodness, and His love!! 🙂
What beautiful words from a beautiful sister about our beautiful Lord! Thank you for sharing from your heart because it cerainly touched mine….
Oh my word, I loved that! I am all teary – so beautiful Sandy.
I am going to be tacky and post a link – but I do not know if you have read this ,and I just think it is so cool how God spoke to us with the same type of message!! Here –
love you – mis